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Radon (Little Known) Facts

How many of you have actually read the Citizen's Guide to Radon published by the EPA?  See if you can recall these facts:

  1. Who says Radon is dangerous?  As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization, National Academy of Sciences, Centers for Disease Control, American Lung Association, American Medial Association, and the American Public Health Association all concur radon is an environmental concern and must not be ignored.
  2. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the USA is estimated to have elevated radon levels.  (4.0 pCi/L or greater)
  3. The average USA indoor radon level is estimated to be 1.3 pCi/L.  Outside is 0.4 pCi/L.  Congress has set a long term goal that indoor levels be no more than outdoor levels.  While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases, most homes today can be reduced to 2.0 pCi/L or below.
  4. According to the CDC, exposure to radon is estimated to cause 21,000 deaths each year!  Drunk driving deaths number 17,400.
  5. Health risk to radon is linearly proportional to average exposure and time of exposure.  A person exposed to 4.0 pCi/L for 1 year has the same risk as a person exposed to 2.0 pCi/L for 2 years.
  6. Children have been reported to have greater risk than adults of certain types of cancer from radiation, but there is currently no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon.
  7. Real estate short term tests in the USA are measured and interpreted in pCi/L (pico Curies per liter of air; radon gas volume) as compared to WL (working level) which measures actual Radon Decay Products (RDP).  pCi/L is estimating the health risk while WL is measuring the actual health risk.
  8. Long term tests by definition remain in your home for more than 90 days.  "Alpha track" and "electret" detectors (passive devices) are commonly used for this type of testing.  A long term test will give you a reading that is more likely to reveal your home's year round average radon level.
  9. Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels.  Some types of granite may emit gamma radiation above typical background levels.  However, at this time, EPA believes that the existing data is insufficient to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops is significantly increasing indoor radon levels.
  10. The EPA recommends building new homes with radon-resistant features in high radon potential areas classfied as Zone 1.  Check the zone map of the USA at the EPA.gov website to see how your area stacks up.